4-star,  M/M,  Suspense

Counterblow (Shatterproof Bond #4) by Isobel Starling

This has got to be the most uneven series in the history of series.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sort of in love with both Sam and Declan and they’re the most amazing couple to follow. However, these are supposed to be suspense/spy/secret agent kind of books. But you can never know if an instalment will actually contain any secret agenting (that’s a word right?) or not.

I keep expecting this series to have a classically composed plotline. You know where there’s a case/mystery/whatever that slowly unfolds and then escalates towards the end where it’s finally resolved. All the while there’s a long-term plot that continues in the next book.

Well. That’s not how Shatterproof Bond is structured at all. This series consists of one long-term storyline where the actual plot wasn’t really hinted at until the third book.

Book #1 was a love story.

Book #2 was Declan’s welcome-to-the-Aiken-family.

Book #3 was where all the action happened (It was awesome!) with some actual agent-stuff going on.

And then in Counterblow (#4) it was all about Sam recuperating and then interrogating the villain.

So, the overall story put together is bloody spectacular and I love these guys. But I do find it rather irritating that the pace of the story-telling varies so much.

And this fourth instalment had hardly any content at all. Sam struggles with his injuries, goes to physical therapy. He gets the chance to interrogate his nemesis, so he puts on a disguise and does just that. The end.

Despite how incredibly annoyed this uneven tempo makes me however, I’m stuck now. I just have to know what’s going to happen. So obviously that says something about the story, because I’m invested. This supremely un-agent-y secret-agent series has gotten me good. And even though I might get irritated over the anti-climactic endings of some of these instalments, I still recommend this series. I has great characters and hot, (super-gay) shenanigans. It’s character-driven story-telling where it’s all about Sam and Declan and their relationship. There are loads of secrets that are merely hinted at (which might never be revealed at the pace this is going). Secrets that are both about Sam’s father and his shady business spilling over and threatening Sam’s life, but also about Declan’s past.

Just as long as you don’t expect a traditional suspense-series, you won’t be disappointed.

Irritated? Angry? Frustrated? Yes to all three.

But it’s worth it.


I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).